On Wednesday, the party accused him of “overstepping” (his authority) and “meddling with Delhi’s constitutional framework”.
Claiming that Saxena had called a meeting of Delhi Jal Board officials recently and issued directions on a host of issues, Kalkaji MLA Atishi alleged that the new LG was “attacking” Delhi’s constitutional sanctity by “coercing” officers in the Kejriwal government to work on his directions.
“I appeal to the LG to not try to disrupt Delhi’s constitutional system and let the Kejriwal government run the departments which fall under its purview,” Atishi said while addressing a press conference.
A delegation of AAP MLAs, led by chief whip Dilip Pandey, also met Saxena and urged him to “not interfere with the constitutionally mandated division of powers” in Delhi. “The LG assured cooperation with the elected government of Delhi,” the government said in a statement.
No reaction was available from the LG’s secretariat on the allegations.
Atishi said the LG is new to Delhi and is not “completely aware” about the constitutional situation of the national capital and it was important to tell him that under the Constitution, land, law and order, Delhi Police, and now the MCD fall under the jurisdiction of the LG – the Centre’s representative – while the elected government of Delhi has jurisdiction over all other departments, including power, water, education, health, and revenue.
“If contrasting orders are issued to officers by the LG and the Delhi government, whose word will they follow? Meddling with Delhi’s constitutional arrangement will lead to absolute chaos all across the capital,” the Kalkaji MLA said.
She added that the new LG should focus on improving law and order, women’s safety, sanitation and disposal of waste at landfills if he really wanted to help the people of Delhi. “Cleanliness and poor waste management are predominant issues in Delhi – no locality is properly cleaned due to MCD’s incompetence over the past 15 years. It is my humble request to the LG to focus on improving Delhi’s law and order situation, women’s safety, sanitation, and disposal (of waste) at landfills,” Atishi said.
She added that if Delhi’s constitutional arrangement was “besmirched or meddled with”, effective governance will cease to exist in Delhi and innocent residents will have to pay the price for the resultant state of disorder, she said.
The tussle between the LG’s office and the elected government has been going on since 2015 when AAP formed a government with a thumping mandate in the Capital on a host of administrative issues. The AAP government had earlier accused then LG, Anil Baijal, of calling parallel meetings on Covid-19 in August last year.
In a 2018 judgement, a five-judge Constitution bench had unanimously held that the lieutenant governor of Delhi was bound by the aid and advice of the elected government and both needed to work harmoniously with each other.
After taking oath of office last week, Saxena had asserted that he would be found more on the road than in Raj Niwas, and since then has held several inspections and issued directions on a host of issues.
The Delhi BJP, however, attacked AAP saying it was scared that the failures of the Delhi government will be exposed by the “activeness of the LG”.
“AAP is having problems with the LG taking note of the city’s problems and issuing directions to the officials. They fear that the failures of Kejriwal will be exposed by the activeness of the LG,” said Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta.